All posts filed under: Northern Irish Women Poets

A Celebration of Irish Women Poets on Bloomsday 2016

The Middle of April by Fiona Bolger After Robert Hass   i   whan that Aprille with his shoures soote the droghte of March hath perced to the roote my grandfather quotes Chaucer from the vinyl   ii   he knows more now we will too soon   iii in the spring pelmet of green   in the summer scarf of orange   in the autumn shawl of white   iv   bamboos knock out a tune until disturbed by elephants grazing, discarding as they go   v   The dangers lie in the jugular. No one really likes the smell of elephant poo but it makes paper of a high quality. Words written on digested bamboo. Nothing is lost between page and palm. That is mystery: pen, ink, paper, thread, card, dream, word. A memory clings like the smell of dung. And there are always fibres   vi   let there be peace between us let us learn together om santhi santhi santhi   vi   there’s no shit like your own shit   …

“Fintona” and other poems by Aine MacAodha

Windowless church   My church has no windows in fact it has no doors either and to be fair no altar it has no ordained minister or priest or gospels. Its in my heart, in the starry sky the moon shining over the land its the planets in our solar system the sun when it shines or not its the foods god/creator left us, berries, leaves, nuts my church has winter winds that cut to the bone and to enlighten I have the sweet smell of roses as I follow the seasons. It is bog cotton waving on an early Autumn evening as the sun bids farewell. On nights like these dark and Irish wintery the familiar trees and hills become ancient septs ready for battle with the ether. Fields caped in winter fog appear as crafted cities of the dead souls roam among the rushes in search of utopia or a home. Trees scan the darkened horizon the wind calls out names too and winter hangs around like a threat. This is my church. …

Four voices confront the absence of women in Irish poetry

I have endured the scholastic training worthy of someone of learning. I am versed in the twelve divisions of poetry and the traditional rules. I am so light and fleet I escape from a body of men without snapping a twig, without ruffling a braid of my hair, I run under branches as high as my ankle and over ones high as my head, I scrape thorns from my feet (not mine) while I run, I dance backwards away from myself, these rites are quite common among primitive nations, I am seldom admitted into the companionship of the older, the full privilege of the tribe, without them. By Kathy D’Arcy “A Meditation on Ireland, Women, Poetry and Subversion” at the Honest Ulsterman. There is a narrative gap in Irish poetry that appears to the woman poet, her reviewer, and the poet essayist as ‘absence’, indeed as a type of intellectual privation. That a new generation of women writers are confronting Irish women poets absence from the canon, along with it’s previous attendant tokenism, is truly …

‘Cry Oceans’ by Mary Cecil

Cry Oceans   Cry oceans and weep the seas Where waves flow over The endless motions of life The swimming perfection that flees   The Armageddon of destruction By all means possible The mechanisation of death The beginning of the end   For whales and tuna to consume The mercury to garnish The insatiable greed to fill The merciless plunderers   To crush and pulp for cattle The wanton waste of the world That flies in the face of God And wilts in the sun   The lonely song of the whale That echoes in silent reproach The albatross that soars Over oceans of emptiness   The flowering coral that dies Blooming in acid The hymn of death Beneath blue heaven   © Mary Cecil, Rathlin Island   ‘Written in protest to the mechanisation of fishing with super trawlers‘ Mary Cecil is the mother of large family and Grandmother to eleven. The widow of Rathlin Island’s famous campaigner, diver, author (Harsh winds of Rathlin) Thomas Cecil. Lover of Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland’s only inhabited island. Mary …

“Nadelah” and other poems by Geraldine O’Kane

Hitting to Hurt (after ‘The Leaping Lamb’)   Everybody saw us as the bull and the lamb, that is how I hid for so long.   He was a chunk of a man; I sliced him to bits with my words, buried him with shame.   I am sorry for using such callous language, I’ll try to rein myself in; let’s start again.   The first time my hands rose, it felt like they belonged to someone else; afterwards I wished so hard that they did.   It’s not like it happened everyday but the second and third time I knew the fists were mine and I kept on using them.   He stood there as I threatened to leave him if he didn’t fight back or if he did I’d go anyway; soon I was saving all my energy and hitting to hurt.   Once I drew blood and no longer saw him as either bull, husband or human being; it was then I knew I needed help.   Commissioned by Artist Brian Kielt …